A three-phase project that has been a long-term goal of the Swallows Charter Academy in Pueblo West is nearing its final stage as the addition of a high school student building is underway.
“Phase one was the gym and cafeteria, phase two was the $ 20 million BEST grant project for the K-8 building, and this is phase three,” said Cindy Compton, director of Swallows. “Phase three rounds off my vision that I had for this campus 11 years ago.”
The K-8 building was built and completed by Golden Triangle Construction (GTC) before school started last August, and the full-service commercial general contractor has returned to complete Compton’s vision.
The latest addition, GTC Superintendent Flint Swindle said, will be a roughly 16,000-square-foot, single-story building that will feature a state-of-the-art science laboratory and art room, as well as a choir room.
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“It will be a modern, sophisticated environment for high school students,” said Compton. “There will be a learning community where we can have larger meetings and of course traditional classrooms.”
While the extension will have similar modern finishes to match the K-8 building, Compton said the building will be better suited for the charter academy’s high school students.
“A lot of the design and architectural elements are similar, just a little more sophisticated,” added Compton. “A slightly more sophisticated color palette that appeals to high school students.”
The project, which began in May, is slated to be completed around Christmas, but with the weather Pueblo recently experienced, GTC was initially three weeks behind schedule.
“Making sure the foundation is done right (is critical),” said Swindle. “The ground out here isn’t the best. There is a lot of slate and rock.
“If you lose the building because of the weather, there is nothing you can do about it. As I said, when we were preparing to prepare the dirt, it was very important. It was raining all the time and we would lose it if it was solid. “
The rain also disrupted the laying of cement for the flooring on two separate occasions, Swindle said.
GTC has made up a week since then, and Swindle added that he believes the other two weeks can be made up in order to complete the project on time.
This is a great achievement in Compton’s eyes, as the students who were in first grade when the academy began can complete the second half of their senior year in the new building.
“You’ve spent many years growing up without great facilities,” Compton said. “They had great teachers, curricula, and opportunities – but we’ve never had a great facility for them as high school students. So I’m glad you have a place to be proud of. “
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Compton said this addition, among other benefits, means Charter Academy’s students have a safe school that is finally under one roof.
“Safety is what we needed all along,” said Compton. “We assumed seven buildings, now we will be in a connected building after completing the third phase.”
Chieftain and Pueblo West View reporter Alexis Smith can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @ smith_alexis27.